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Live Like a Freelancer, Charge Like a Business

Live Like a Freelancer, Charge Like a Business

Freedom! Independence! Coffee! These are the promises of a freelance life, and it’s a wonderful image. As I branched out from corporate life (got fired…again) I embraced the freelance ethos of not letting the man get me down, living life on my terms and working from coffee shops with a superior smirk at the ready, should some office bound hack come my way.

The problem is, freelancing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I found that while I liked the idea – and still do – I’m just not suited to it; I needed to find a way to get the best of freelancing, while taking the best things from corporate life – consistent income, the resources of others, the flexibility to work beyond the structures of an intermediary or freelancing site – without the gross parts that make me want to spit bile. I wanted to freelance while behaving like a business.

So I made a list of the things I wanted and didn’t want. I had to accept that some basics came with having a business, like budgets and product offerings beyond, “I do writing,” but there were clear lines in the sand – I would not work in an office, be restricted to office hours, or work with anyone who took themselves too seriously.

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Here’s the most important of those rules, adapted over time.

1. Act Like a Business

The perception of being a business of substance is important. Probably not to you, but your prospects like to feel comfortable engaging you, they want to sense there is more accountability than your promise.

  •  Invest in a website – you’re not as good at WordPress as you think (unless you’re a WP designer).
  • Find some good marketing automation software. Combine MailChimp with a marketing stack – Hubspot, Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer are all good places to start. Spend some time creating a social calendar and a way to collect leads from your website.
  • Get an accounting system with invoicing capability – I use Xero, Quickbooks is awesome, but there are heaps of options out there.
  • Get a logo. I spent ages on this and eventually I just found a font I liked. Check out www.knighttime.com.au, for my mindbogglingly simple creation.
  • Get business cards. I hate business cards; they seem so dated in the digital age, but go to Moo.com and spend hours creating.

2. Charge Like a Business

Freelancers sell on price, and (good) businesses sell on value. When I started ‘being’ a business, I had to put up my prices for new clients – because businesses charge more. This was good news, both for my clients and I, because there was increased accountability from me, and realistically, I was (and am) still charging below market rates. That’s cool because I have overheads so low I could bump my face on them, and businesses are far less price sensitive than freelancers.

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I’ll talk more about packaging in a later blog, but in the meantime define at least two offerings that you can charge for, either on an extended project basis or as a monthly commitment. If this is intimidated, do what I do – use it as a guarantee.

“If you don’t like our work, just stop – there’s no commitment.” It’s a powerful statement, because it increases accountability again, and it’s true. The best guarantees are crystal clear with no positioning and offer genuine peace of mind.

3. Tack On Offerings

One of the most frustrating parts of being a freelance writer was when I had to leave money on the table. “Can you do web design? I need this blog to look awesome.” “Do you know Photoshop?” “Can you create my logo?” Every time I had to shake my head and walk away, knowing that I’d likely opened the door to another freelancer who would gladly claim to be a writer despite their lack of, you know, writing experience.

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Now, I have a little group of loyal peeps who I’ve tested and used on heaps of engagements. They understand that when they deal with a client, they’re my team member and should act as such. Why would they do this? Because I get them paid! I don’t clip the ticket too much, treat them fairly, remember they’re not your employees, and make sure the offering is still compelling for the client. Boom! More freelancers, doing their freelance thang.

4. Don’t Spend Money On Pointless Junk

Things are going well! Don’t listen to anyone who says you should move into a shared space – that’s called a library or a park. Don’t for goodness sake hire staff, even on a casual basis. Don’t upgrade the car (yet) and don’t think you’ve got the whole thing sorted. The strength of freelancing is adaptability – you can be fluid according to market conditions and adapt your offering, marketing, structure or…well, anything if needs be.

I mentioned my low cost base – that’s advantageous, not only from an adaptability point of view, but also for authenticity’s sake. You see, I don’t care about the Mercedes, the big office or the bottles of champagne…and that brings me to the most important point.

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5. Define What You Want, and Do That Fearlessly

I want to sit on the beach, in a park, or wherever with the sun on my face, and a skateboard, headphones, and coffee not too far away. I passionately want to create works that matter to my clients. I like working hard, but on my own terms.

None of these things may resonate with you, and that’s fine. Define your vision, and force it into life by being an epic freelancer, who runs their own business. Begin with the right mindset and the right clients, freelancers and supporters will show up.

Featured photo credit: Camille Kimberley via Unsplash via unsplash.com

More by this author

Rhys Knight

Head of Content at www.knight.global

Hacking Your Beliefs Can Change Your Life Reprogram Your Brain, Change Your Life Want To Be Authentic? Speak To Your Inner Child How To Write Content That Matters 3 Steps to Being Fearless, Epic & Free In 2017

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Last Updated on June 13, 2019

10 Best Success Books You Need to Read to Be Great at Business

10 Best Success Books You Need to Read to Be Great at Business

Take a minute and think about some of the most successful people you know.

I’d bet they’re great with people, are super-productive, and think differently than most. After all, that’s how they got to be where they are today.

Jealous of them? You don’t have to be.

You can learn these same skills by studying some of the best business and success books that can help you take your game to the next level. Here’re 10 of my favorites:

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

    Dale Carnegie’s best-selling book that helped to launch a personal growth empire should be required reading for everyone who wants to learn how to build and nurture relationships for a lifetime.

    Read this book and you’ll learn some simple advice than can help you build popularity points within your current network and just as important, expand it to others.

    Get the book here!

    2. Focal Point by Brian Tracy

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      Got a lot on your to-do list? Of course you do. But what separates productive people from others is their ability to focus on a singular task at a time, and getting it done before moving on to the next one.

      Sounds simple in theory, but this can be extremely difficult in practice. In Focal Point Brian Tracy offers tips to help build discipline and organization into your day so you can get more stuff done.

      Get the book here!

      3. Purple Cow by Seth Godin

        Creating a “me-too” product can be easy at the start but can doom you to business failure. That’s why marketing maverick Seth Godin recommends creating a product that is truly different from anything already available in the marketplace.

        In essence by making the product different you’ll be building the marketing into the actual product development…which just makes your actual marketing a helluva lot easier.

        Get the book here!

        4. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

          If you’ve struggled with procrastination or small thinking, this is the book for you. In it Schwartz offers practical advice that can help you get inspired and motivated to create a bigger life for yourself. And with it can be a more lucrative and rewarding career.

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          Get the book here!

          5. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankel

            It can be difficult for lots of people to keep things in perspective, especially when working on high priority and urgent projects at work.

            Man’s Search for Meaning can be a life-changing book in the sense that it can open your eyes to a first-hand experience of one of the greatest atrocities in the history of mankind, while also teaching a valuable lesson about having purpose.

            Get the book here!

            6. The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

              Solo-entrepreneurs can learn a ton from the guy who made lifestyle design popular. But guess what? The 4HWW isn’t just for guys and girls who want to start a small online business.

              Smart moves like outsourcing, following the 80/20 rule, and automating processes should be made by entry-level workers and established executives alike.

              Get the book here!

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              7. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

                I remember sitting on a couch and opening this book on a Saturday morning, thinking I’d get through a chapter and then get on with my day. Instead, about 12 hours later, I was finished with the book. The concepts in it were mind-blowing to me.

                To think that thoughts can create your reality sounded a little far-fetched at first. But after going through the book and understanding that your thoughts create your beliefs, which lead to actions, which then lead to habits….well you can get where I’m going with this.

                If you focus your thoughts on success, achieving it will be much more likely than thinking about obstacles, failures and everything else that can get in your way.

                Get the book here!

                8. The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard

                  If you’re going to read one management book in your life, this should be it. It’s simple. You can read it in an afternoon. And the advice works.

                  Get the book here!

                  9. The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries

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                    Before you create any sort of business you’ll want to give Lean Start-Up a read through. Doing so can save you money, time and other resources you could have potentially wasted otherwise.

                    Get the book here!

                    10. The Monk and the Riddle by Randy Komisar

                      The story Randy Komisar shares in the Monk and the Riddle offers advice about not just about how you need to think when starting a new business, but also about how to build a life you’re passionate about.

                      Understanding the technical aspects of launching a start-up is great, but if you don’t have the staying power to stick with it when the going gets tough then it’s not likely to work.

                      This book can help you understand this lesson before you spend blood, sweat and tears on a project that you’re heart isn’t into.

                      Get the book here!

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